By Colleen Lehmann
The concern on the COVID-19 front, both nationally and worldwide, is the alarming rise in cases. IDPH reported on July 23, 2021 there were 7,983 new cases of COVID in Illinois in the past week alone. That same elevation is being seen locally as well, unfortunately. From July 1-25 DCHD has recorded 21 new cases, not counting six new cases just from July 27. By comparison, last month there were a total of 11 new COVID cases reported among Douglas County residents.
As of July 25, Douglas County has had a total of 2,714 COVID cases, 44 deaths, and is monitoring 23 active/close contacts. The 7-day rolling positivity rate for the county, as recorded on July 23, was 3.6 percent. For Region 6, that number was 4 percent. In Illinois, the highly transmissible Delta variant has been identified in 636 cases. Delta was first officially recorded in Illinois on June 15, when 64 cases were logged.
Vaccination is proving to be the most direct and effective means of keeping COVID-19 at manageable levels and avoiding serious disease and/or death. The CDC has reported 97 percent of patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19 infections are unvaccinated. Currently, 35.34 percent of Douglas County residents have been fully vaccinated. Today we vaccinated approximately 55 people at J600, and there are 18 people signed up for Thursday morning’s clinic.
As another school year approaches, so too does attention to keeping in-person learning viable and ongoing. This Wednesday, DCHD will be at Arcola Schools from 4 to 6 p.m. for a COVID vaccine clinic aimed at students, staff and parents. Tuscola school district will have a similar clinic in August, and dates are being worked out for Arthur and Villa Grove school districts.
As a point of information, a Webex seminar with IDPH today made very clear that mask wearing for all unvaccinated individuals in schools is the intended standard that should be adopted, and regular (weekly) screening testing of those same folks is strongly encouraged. Social distancing of at least three feet whenever possible, good hygiene practices, and proper ventilation in classrooms remain best practices. Keeping schools open and safe to attend is the primary goal, and layering mitigations based on data is the means. It was noted today that no fees will be charged to any schools doing rapid testing on site, and a system has been developed so that schools don’t have to seek CLIA status and they can have a standing order for testing.
This is the last week of Summer Meals, and DCHD is grateful to all the restaurants and businesses that are helping to make this wonderful program available to all children up to age 18 in our communities.